Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Monstrous Fun...

Ever have one of those days? Monster Dionysus works for the cryptobiological containment department of animal control. He captures mythological and magical creatures along with his partner, Chester, a paper gnome (who’s actually from another dimension). Monster’s bad day starts when he gets a call about a Yeti who’s wreaking havoc in a supermarket (actually the big guy is eating ice cream). Monster rescues Judy, an employee at the store, from the ravenous snow giant, and assumes his job is done. But in A. Lee Martinez’s comic novel, Monster, it doesn’t end there. Suddenly, a host of magical creatures seems to follow Judy everywhere, and wreak havoc not only with her life, but with Monster’s as well.

Most humans in Monster’s world forget their encounters with the fantastic immediately, and have to be reminded about what happened to them; apparently, our brains can’t handle the reality of magic. So Monster has to keep telling Judy about all the supernatural events that surround her. As more & more creatures appear, he has to figure out why Judy seems to be the epicenter of all these fantastic events. He also has to deal with the mysterious Lotus, who is turning people into cats, and seems to know what’s going on – and may have a plan of her own. And let’s not forget Monster’s girlfriend from hell – who really is from hell, who is also complicating matters for our hero.

Humorous dialogue and situations combine with the fantasy and action elements, which makes for an enjoyable, fast-paced read. The author’s style is reminiscent of Christopher Moore and Douglas Adams, and if you're a fan of those authors, you'll love Martinez's work as well. He maintains a light tone throughout this engaging, well-paced book, and creates some memorable, engaging characters. If you like fantasy or science-fiction on the lighter side, then Monster is highly recommended. Martinez has written several other books, including a comic horror story entitled Gil’s All Fright Diner and a sci-fi/hardboiled detective pastiche called The Automatic Detective, and they’re worth checking out as well.

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